Solutions

In this section, I am going to take both fully formed ideas and also half-baked ideas and offer them up as solutions to our nations woes for readers to consider.  I admit, I am going to throw things up that aren’t fulled formed yet and never complete.  Some will also almost certainly become outdated.  This is a sounding board and the various solutions to our problems will form and congeal over time – something to put up as more of a stream of consciousness rather than final products like the blog posts.  These ideas may even be idealistic at first, but if I get respondents, then I get a better collective conscience.  Otherwise, its all my own ideas, which isn’t nearly as good.

So please, consume the ideas, digest them a bit, and then in the disuccsion section below, tell them how the idea sits with you.  I need useful additions to my ideas but also constructive criticism.  I know that no one side has all the policy answers; it shouldn’t.  I also know that politics should be about the art of compromise.  I want to come up with solutions that are what is best for our nation, but not necesarilly all my own nor do I need to agree with them 100%.  The craziness I see everyday in DC is a perfect counterpoint and shows how politics shouldn’t be done.  You need to wear a gas mask to stay safe from all the vitrol and poison that has been dumped there.

— The Divided (and soon to be gridlocked) Congress – Sept 2010 —

   Only the most self-delusional (or leftist liberal) believes that at least control of the House or Representatives won’t change in November.  It is all but certain.  However, if you read my first post from September, you can see that the results are going to be lack-luster.  Americans don’t really like the Republicans either.  I don’t blame them.  They have a lot of blood on their hands and saying ‘no’ really isn’t a solution to a healthier national path.

  Enter my recommendation.  Before November, take a good hard look at your candidates.  Republican/Democrat/Independent, incumbent or challenger.  Take a good hard look NOT at what they say during the election campaign cycle, but their past statements and behavior.  That is the surest way to determine how they will act in the future.  Look for people who cut deals, who need special interest money, and who give you the impression of ‘more of the same’ from inside the Beltway.  You know what I am talking about – the guys who show up on the talk show/news circuit and don’t answer direct answers.  They qualify, tap-dance, and give non-answers.

     Its like what Jack Nicholson said in A Few Good Men, they think that ‘you can’t handle the truth’.  That is the problem.  Politicians that act like that are more worried about angering you because things are so bad instead of actually telling you about the problems.  Why would they really give substantive solutions when it would upset the apple cart – putting their popularity and hence jobs at risk if they actually highlight the problems.  This head-in-the-sand ostrich approach that politicians assume that Americans are too self-absorbed too take only makes the solutions that much more unpalatable as we collectively skirt around them and they continue to worsen.  They count on you to behave this way.  If you didn’t and held them accountable for their collective fraud, waste, and abuse then they certainly would be out of a job.

 Why don’t we start holding them accountable and voting that way – we have clear indicators as to whose vote is already compromised.

—- The National Debt – July 2010 —-   

The national debt of the United States is a staggering 13.2 TRILLION Dollars as of July 13th, 2010 and piling on more every second.    We also have 59 TRILLION Dollars (and counting) worth of unfunded liabilities.  Those are YOUR Social Security, Medi-Care, and now mandated health-care funds that Baby Boomers and the remnants of The Greatest Generation are enjoying today.     If you are a fellow ‘young person’, they will not be there for you by the time you are old.  Most likely, the bureaucrats have also probably raided our 401Ks and IRAs too, but that is another topic entirely.  The bottom line is that the current trajectory we are going on is unsustainable.  Multi-trillion dollar a year deficits cannot go on in the future.  Here is why: – Eventually investors at home and abroad will lose faith in the debt they hold (US Treasuries).  Markets today act like they are a ‘safe haven’ because our situation simply looks better than in Europe and other developed parts of the world…hence it is a safe place to park your money.  I call it the ‘best of a bad bunch’.  As the markets lose faith, the interest rate you have to pay to service the debt gets higher…meaning more of tax-payer money goes to paying the interest on the debt rather than paying it down or actually paying for stuff like defense and health-care…which makes the situation worse because you have to borrow just that much more to cover those kind of expenses.  Eventually, the Ponzi scheme comes tumbling down when one day, the market wakes up and believes that you cannot pay your obligations back.  The Chinese will take their losses and pull their money out (along with everyone else) when that day happens.  Think what happened to Greece earlier in 2010, but on a massive scale.  You think the ‘crash’ of 2008 was bad?  Go Wiki the Great Depression to get a real perspective on economic disaster. How do we avoid this: simple.  We cut spending and raise taxes.  Government spending at all levels is out of control.  Why is it we  as a nation spend so much money?     Simple, most Americans are financially illiterate.  We do not regulate our own finances; hence our average of $8,000 of credit card debt per adult and ‘investments’ that created the housing boom that many thought would never end in the first fake go-go decade of the 21st century.  Our standard of living had not increased, we just borrowed to live like it had…for a while.  See how this is unsustainable and the retraction is painful.    Since we cannot hold ourselves accountable, largely we cannot hold our elected officials accountable.  We know most of them are thieves and liars who are more concerned with their careers than their country, but we elect and re-elect them anyways.  Why?  Because the few of us who do vote generally trust their representative because they believe the lies they see on their TV in between episodes of American Idol and Access Hollywood.  It is easier to read your People magazine and worry about Lindsay Lohan’s jail sentence (pick your celebrity gossip current event of the day) than to actually know current events, do your own research, and get informed.  You believed your mortgage broker about the too big house you walked away from just like you believed your representative when they said they had evidence of WMDs and we needed to go into Iraq. We are a nation asleep at the wheel.  We are either: – Too Ignorant – to know what is going on around us – either by choice or necessity (think of the single mother who works 3 jobs to keep herself and three kids afloat.  She doesn’t have the time to get informed. – Too Comfortable – We like it because the government comes to the resuce every time we make a mistake.  you don’t learn in that situation and you eventually know that  something will be there to catch you no matter what you do.  Think of the too-big-to-fail banks and the failure of welfare as perfect real-life examples. – Too Connected – We like it because a select few are a blue-blooded elite who like the status quo.   Why upset it when you have it so good?   They like a system that can take advantage of the legal, tax, and financial system to make a disproportionate share of money on other’s backs.  They do not want entrepreneurs or innovators to upset the balance and hence they get no breaks while the coffers of the relatively few get filled.  This is Wal-Street to a ‘T’.  They have gotten away with the  financial crisis of 2008 with barely a slap on the wrist (the laughable financial reform of 2010 that has no teeth)  Finally, the answer:    We as a nation must wake up.  We need to see that we are no longer rewarding productivity and innovation.  The poor <em>are</em> getting poorer and the rich are getting richer.  There is less opportunity than there used to be.  We have to work harder and harder to maintain the average American standard of living.  That is in part where all of that debt comes from.  There still is plenty of opportunity, don’t get me wrong…its still the most in the world.  But there is  far less today will all of the government regulation…and there will be even less in a ‘post-America’ world.  We need to see that we are giving the lazy, the dishonest, and liberals in general, a free pass to victimize this nation.  The cold-hard facts is that we are losing our competitive edge to harder working people.  Liberty is about being free.  Being fee to succeed, but also free to fail.  Failure is one of the best ways to learn.  If you are never allowed to fail, you will never learn.  Unfortunately, we as a nation are failing in the art of Democracy and it looks like we will have to learn the hard way via failure.    By actually caring about who we elect and holding them accountable to the truth, we can be set free.  To turn this ship around, these statesmen would make the hard decisions.  I suggest they: 1) Slash government spending – make it more efficient at all levels.  It is full of fraud, waste, and abuse.  I am unsure of the exact amount, but government at all level can afford a haircut.   Then, slash spending again.   Bureaucrats base their budgets on last year’s budget.  They make sure to spend all of it lest they lose what they didn’t use for next year.  Government will have to massively reduce it size, laying off excess and unproductive workers and selling unneeded assets.  Government is rife with people who don’t work and get paid for it.  They will have to freeze or cut generous pay scales, trim back pension benefits, and have business contracts with the private sector that makes sense.  There is so much money in government contracting because the US Government writes the checks…and they don’t bounce.  The contractor can be inefficient and ask for whatever and get that check everytime.  Eventually that check will bounce.  This is not just the federal government, but state and local governments.  Government needs to run as leanly as possible – like a business.  You would never conduct a business that way, so why is it okay for our society’s institutions to be run that way? 2) Slash entitlement programs.  Yes, this is government spending, but the worst kind and of of the least efficient.  Our Social Security system is out-dated and based on livability standards far below what is should be.  We burden our children with debts in the future with forms of obligations to the least productive members of society today.  How did it get this way?  Social Security’s benefit age where you could collect money used to be above the average American’s life expectancy.   FDR and his guys did that for a reason – it wasn’t supposed to be something you relied on.  Elderly Americans had somehow survived up until then without it.  Now, most elderly Americans are entirely dependent upon their social security check.  They use it as their sole source of income because they didn’t save enough during their working years.  Further, the elderly have plenty of time, so they vote.  They certainly are not going to vote to give themselves less benefits – so they vote in the liars that will.  I know its pretty hard-core to say we need to raise the age of social security and cut off moneies promised to old people who were going to rely on it, but what have I said here that is factually wrong?  Is it okay to make me pay into a system where the money is being spent now instead of towards my retirement?   The same applies to Medicare, Obama-care and every other entitlement.  Reforming health care is its own section, but it can be done for LESS money and provide good care.  We are throwing money at the least productive members of society without thinking of our future and the people who are truly innocent – our children and their children; all future Americans.  Since it is a government program, it is hugely fraudulent, wasteful, and abusive with public funds.  Too many people are thinking selfishly and not about the collective damage they are doing to the country when they take their slice.  Where did our morals go?  There is another compassion and money to take care of the elderly, sick, and poor in this country, but the government does not always have to be the one to do it.  If they do, it needs to be done efficiently. 3) Reign back the military budget where you can, but keep the homeland beans and bullets intact.  What we need to do is address our mission creep.  We should make the armistice with N. Korea a peace treaty and pull out of S. Korea.    Give the South a couple of nukes, show them how to use them, and say: ‘we like you guys but we’re tired of paying for all of your military bills, I hoped you’ve learned something in the past 50 years’ .  They can handle the Communists up north.   Do the same thing with the Japanese, but don’t give them any nukes because it would be ironic since we’ve already given them two.  Besides, they are smart enough to make some on their own if they want them.  I trust the Japanese at this point.  Do the same with the Germans, Brits, and just about everywhere else in Europe.  WWII and the Cold War is over!  Europe isn’t going to fight itself anymore nor does it have to defend itself from the Russians.  There is simply no reason to spend the money except to maintain a global peacekeeping presence.  Yes, this is a huge draw down, but there is no reason why our military budget needs to be larger than the next 19 countries’ defense budgets combined.  There is no reason to be in places that we defeated or defended in past wars and then successfully integrated them into the world economy, making them peaceful.  The correlary to that point is that we then come down like the Fist of God in Afghanistan.  All those assets and funds we just free up, we put it towards Afghanistan until it is built up where it needs to be (schools, roads, homes) and leveled where it needs to be (mountain tunnels, training camps, etc.)  Put every overseas American soldier in Afghanistan and you will see a surge without asking for any additional money.  That is a way to win a war.   I’m tired to my friends getting killed because some warlord doesn’t like  that we’ve been there going on 9 years.  We are not doing everything we can.  By chasing the bad-guys into Pakistan and killing them there too while also doing everything short of leveling cities with nukes,we can win the war quickly and get out.  No refuge, no quarter, simply utter defeat of the terrorists with overwhelming force by unleashing the dogs of war with the full might of the US military.  We also send a message to the next guy who decides to fly some planes into building that we will gladly come across the street and  burn his hut down too if you mess with the U. S. of A.  After that, we draw back down.  We keep very few strategic points around the globe and save on the costly tab of defending the world from itself.  Should the world get to be a dangerous place again (I doubt it), we mobilize like we have in the past and address the situation.  Even if our defense budget is 5 times the next largest country, that is still an overwhelming amount.  Does it really work for it to be so high nowadays?  Nowhere in here did I skimp on homeland defense  – except in general government waste cutting which will make every DoD dollar go that much further. 4) Let freedom ring.  Get government out of our lives as much as possible.  Needless regulation, outdated laws, circumvented rules, tear them all down to get at the real problems.  I’m tired of more laws and rules.  Somehow we survived in  1950s without all of the laws.  Yes, DDT is bad and that was in the 50’s, but I think you get my point.   This means tort reform (another solution by itself), that means common-sense, that means less red tape and government getting in the way.  This means the bad apples will not ruin things for everyone.  Only they pay the consequences.  If the public trust is violated, they actually pay in some appropriate way.  This would let us get on our way of being productive and innovative – sources of strength for this great nation.  Less rules means more room for everyone.  It means more entrepreneurship, more invention, more economic growth. 5) Wise public investments.  Just like a college education, there is some debt out there that is a wise investment.  Look at the results that the Manhattan Project and the Apollo Project had on the trajectory of America.  What if our government created a real stimulus that served America?  High speed rail across this vast nation, smart power grids, rebuilt roads.  The best and first should be fusion power.  Make it a reality, not just a lab experiment.  We could solve our looming energy crisis overnight and export such a clean source of energy across the world, benefitting everyone.  We do it smartly, so that we do not destroy industries like coal, we just phase them out as we phase the new technologies in.  We weren’t sure we could get to the moon or develop the nuclear bomb, but we did.  We could do the same for fusion powered reactors.   6) Lastly, and yes, this is lastly, raise taxes.  I don’t want to, but we need to.  But it isn’t drastic.  It is enough to not only balance the budget, but to significantly reduce the national debt.  I am not talking about a permanent value-added-tax, but things like a revocation of the Bush tax cuts, then some modest but progressively higher tax rates on everyone – the poor, the middle-class, and the rich.  Everyone has to pay.   This changes no one’s standard of living while replenishing the coffers.  I am tired of people saying that they cannot find another couple of hundred dollars a year.  Yes, you can, you would rather just waste it on $4 Starbucks coffee and buying the smut magazine at the supermarket .  You could be buying your own premium coffee and brewing it while reading your $20 yearly subscription to the same magazine.  I hate to tax people further, but I mean it when I say it would be temporary and that we need it to reduce our debt levels.  Again, this would not be as bad with a more efficient federal dollar working for you.  Hence point #1.

—- The Death Penalty – March, 2010 —-

The commonwealth of Virginia  gave Paul Powell the chair today for the murder of Stacie Reed and the rape and attempted murder of her sister Kristie back in 1999.  Virginia and states like Texas among others are on the right path of persistantly executing the worst criminals,  but the process of taking a capitol offense to its conclusion is too expensive and has much room for improvement.

I am unabashedly for the death penalty.  Some people do not deserve to live for their crimes.  Others may disagree with me both on the moralty or the right of a government having the ability to sentence a person to death.  We will just have to agree to disagree.   However, because of the legal process, it is incredibly expensive to execute a man whether you believe a state has the rigt to do it or not.

Case in point, there were legal loophole that did not tie Powell’s rape and murder convictions into one crime.  He was convicted of both crimes from the same night.  How does that make him any less guilty of a capitol offense?  That loophole got his capitol conviction overturned.   He was still guilty, but the judge deemed he did not commit a capitol offense.  Powell later admitted to some unknown facts in a letter that gave investigators enough information to retry him for a capitol offense.  That is two trials the commonwealth had to pay for.  Lawyers, judges, juries, the whole nine yards.  It was a waste.

Loopholes like that and allowing the guilty to have appeal after appeal make for years if not decades where the tax-payer has to house someone who committed a crime heinous enough to be put to death for it.  This is a travesty for the families of  the victims and tax payers.  Remember, the tax-payer foots the bill for building and maintaining the separate facilities for death row inmates along with all the trappings (guards, food, clothing, electricity, etc) that go along with it.  Since it takes so long to execute a person, all the expense of the waiting and appeals makes a capitol conviction cost more than a life setence.  That money could be spent on education, roads, or any number of investments.  Instead, money goes to supporting a burden on society…

I propose some common sense solutions that each state could enact to fix the problems with the death penalty:

1) People who are dead-to-rights guilty (not just guilty beyond a reasonable doubt) should have an expedited death-sentence.  Make it ‘the next level’ of conviction.  The jury has no doubt and is aware of it, so they consciously give the sentence.  This designation allows for no appeals or loopholes.  It cuts a decade plus on death row to 90 days.  Enough time for the convicted to get their affairs in order.

This would REQUIRE  juries/judges to have irrefutable evidence like DNA or the combination of multiple credible eye-witness testimonies or a confession (like in Powell’s case) to lay down this kind of sentence and have an expedited execution.  This process would serve justice AND unburden society of people like Powell, while also reducing the cost of their incarceration.

2)  Increase the number of heinous crimes eligible for the death penalty.  Namely 1st degree murder, serial rapists, and child rapists.  No one will argue that these are life destroying/shattering crimes and that these predators need to be removed from society permanently.  This not only justly punishes the guilty (in my opinion), an expedited death penalty would serve as a deterent.

3)  Give an honest review of all the convictions with new evidence findings or the potential for new evidence.  I speak specifically to DNA evidence that may exonerate or justify a conviction.  We as a society owe it to those who may be wrongfully convicted of a crime to give them every chance to prove their evidence.  We cannot base or give legitimacy to the post-DNA world of convictions until we use all the tools NOW available to investigate those who were convicted before DNA testing was available.

4)  States like Texas and Virginia should lead the way with such processes, showing how it discourages heinous crime, saves money, and swiftly serves justice.  They should help other states that are not open to capitol punishment and show them the merits of this system.  Each state’s voters and legislators should make their own decisions, but by addressing the flaws in capitol punishment each state could have a better justice system.

The death penalty is about meting out justice, but in all fairness, it has become a topic of efficiently spending tax-payer dollars as well.  State leaders have a duty to safeguard both.

—- The National Debt – July 2010 —-

The national debt of the United States is a staggering 13.2 TRILLION Dollars as of July 13th, 2010 and piling on more every second.    We also have 59 TRILLION Dollars (and counting) worth of unfunded liabilities.  Those are YOUR Social Security, Medi-Care, and now mandated health-care funds that Baby Boomers and the remnants of The Greatest Generation are enjoying today.

If you are a fellow ‘young person’, they will not be there for you by the time you are old.  Most likely, the bureaucrats have also probably raided our 401Ks and IRAs too, but that is another topic entirely.  The bottom line is that the current trajectory we are going on is unsustainable.  Multi-trillion dollar a year deficits cannot go on in the future.  Here is why:

– Eventually investors at home and abroad will lose faith in the debt they hold (US Treasuries).  Markets today act like they are a ‘safe haven’ because our situation simply looks better than in Europe and other developed parts of the world…hence it is a safe place to park your money.  I call it the ‘best of a bad bunch’.  As the markets lose faith, the interest rate you have to pay to service the debt gets higher…meaning more of tax-payer money goes to paying the interest on the debt rather than paying it down or actually paying for stuff like defense and health-care…which makes the situation worse because you have to borrow just that much more to cover those kind of expenses.  Eventually, the Ponzi scheme comes tumbling down when one day, the market wakes up and believes that you cannot pay your obligations back.  The Chinese will take their losses and pull their money out (along with everyone else) when that day happens.  Think what happened to Greece earlier in 2010, but on a massive scale.  You think the ‘crash’ of 2008 was bad?  Go Wiki the Great Depression to get a real perspective on economic disaster.

How do we avoid this: simple.  We cut spending and raise taxes.  Government spending at all levels is out of control.  Why is it we  as a nation spend so much money?

Simple, most Americans are financially illiterate.  We do not regulate our own finances; hence our average of $8,000 of credit card debt per adult and ‘investments’ that created the housing boom that many thought would never end in the first fake go-go decade of the 21st century.  Our standard of living had not increased, we just borrowed to live like it had…for a while.  See how this is unsustainable and the retraction is painful.

Since we cannot hold ourselves accountable, largely we cannot hold our elected officials accountable.  We know most of them are thieves and liars who are more concerned with their careers than their country, but we elect and re-elect them anyways.  Why?  Because the few of us who do vote generally trust their representative because they believe the lies they see on their TV in between episodes of American Idol and Access Hollywood.  It is easier to read your People magazine and worry about Lindsay Lohan’s jail sentence (pick your celebrity gossip current event of the day) than to actually know current events, do your own research, and get informed.  You believed your mortgage broker about the too big house you walked away from just like you believed your representative when they said they had evidence of WMDs and we needed to go into Iraq.

We are a nation asleep at the wheel.  We are either:

– Too Ignorant – to know what is going on around us – either by choice or necessity (think of the single mother who works 3 jobs to keep herself and three kids afloat.  She doesn’t have the time to get informed.

– Too Comfortable – We like it because the government comes to the resuce every time we make a mistake.  you don’t learn in that situation and you eventually know that  something will be there to catch you no matter what you do.  Think of the too-big-to-fail banks and the failure of welfare as perfect real-life examples.

– Too Connected – We like it because a select few are a blue-blooded elite who like the status quo.   Why upset it when you have it so good?   They like a system that can take advantage of the legal, tax, and financial system to make a disproportionate share of money on other’s backs.  They do not want entrepreneurs or innovators to upset the balance and hence they get no breaks while the coffers of the relatively few get filled.  This is Wal-Street to a ‘T’.  They have gotten away with the  financial crisis of 2008 with barely a slap on the wrist (the laughable financial reform of 2010 that has no teeth)

Finally, the answer:

We as a nation must wake up.  We need to see that we are no longer rewarding productivity and innovation.  The poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer.  There is less opportunity than there used to be.  We have to work harder and harder to maintain the average American standard of living.  That is in part where all of that debt comes from.  There still is plenty of opportunity, don’t get me wrong…its still the most in the world.  But there is  far less today will all of the government regulation…and there will be even less in a ‘post-America’ world.  We need to see that we are giving the lazy, the dishonest, and liberals in general, a free pass to victimize this nation.  The cold-hard facts is that we are losing our competitive edge to harder working people.  Liberty is about being free.  Being fee to succeed, but also free to fail.  Failure is one of the best ways to learn.  If you are never allowed to fail, you will never learn.  Unfortunately, we as a nation are failing in the art of Democracy and it looks like we will have to learn the hard way via failure.

By actually caring about who we elect and holding them accountable to the truth, we can be set free.  To turn this ship around, these statesmen would make the hard decisions.  I suggest they:

1) Slash government spending – make it more efficient at all levels.  It is full of fraud, waste, and abuse.  I am unsure of the exact amount, but government at all level can afford a haircut.   Then, slash spending again.   Bureaucrats base their budgets on last year’s budget.  They make sure to spend all of it lest they lose what they didn’t use for next year.  Government will have to massively reduce it size, laying off excess and unproductive workers and selling unneeded assets.  Government is rife with people who don’t work and get paid for it.  They will have to freeze or cut generous pay scales, trim back pension benefits, and have business contracts with the private sector that makes sense.  There is so much money in government contracting because the US Government writes the checks…and they don’t bounce.  The contractor can be inefficient and ask for whatever and get that check everytime.  Eventually that check will bounce.  This is not just the federal government, but state and local governments.  Government needs to run as leanly as possible – like a business.  You would never conduct a business that way, so why is it okay for our society’s institutions to be run that way?

2) Slash entitlement programs.  Yes, this is government spending, but the worst kind and of of the least efficient.  Our Social Security system is out-dated and based on livability standards far below what is should be.  We burden our children with debts in the future with forms of obligations to the least productive members of society today.  How did it get this way?  Social Security’s benefit age where you could collect money used to be above the average American’s life expectancy.   FDR and his guys did that for a reason – it wasn’t supposed to be something you relied on.  Elderly Americans had somehow survived up until then without it.  Now, most elderly Americans are entirely dependent upon their social security check.  They use it as their sole source of income because they didn’t save enough during their working years.  Further, the elderly have plenty of time, so they vote.  They certainly are not going to vote to give themselves less benefits – so they vote in the liars that will.  I know its pretty hard-core to say we need to raise the age of social security and cut off moneies promised to old people who were going to rely on it, but what have I said here that is factually wrong?  Is it okay to make me pay into a system where the money is being spent now instead of towards my retirement?   The same applies to Medicare, Obama-care and every other entitlement.  Reforming health care is its own section, but it can be done for LESS money and provide good care.  We are throwing money at the least productive members of society without thinking of our future and the people who are truly innocent – our children and their children; all future Americans.  Since it is a government program, it is hugely fraudulent, wasteful, and abusive with public funds.  Too many people are thinking selfishly and not about the collective damage they are doing to the country when they take their slice.  Where did our morals go?  There is another compassion and money to take care of the elderly, sick, and poor in this country, but the government does not always have to be the one to do it.  If they do, it needs to be done efficiently.

3) Reign back the military budget where you can, but keep the homeland beans and bullets intact.  What we need to do is address our mission creep.  We should make the armistice with N. Korea a peace treaty and pull out of S. Korea.    Give the South a couple of nukes, show them how to use them, and say: ‘we like you guys but we’re tired of paying for all of your military bills, I hoped you’ve learned something in the past 50 years’ .  They can handle the Communists up north.   Do the same thing with the Japanese, but don’t give them any nukes because it would be ironic since we’ve already given them two.  Besides, they are smart enough to make some on their own if they want them.  I trust the Japanese at this point.  Do the same with the Germans, Brits, and just about everywhere else in Europe.  WWII and the Cold War is over!  Europe isn’t going to fight itself anymore nor does it have to defend itself from the Russians.  There is simply no reason to spend the money except to maintain a global peacekeeping presence.  Yes, this is a huge draw down, but there is no reason why our military budget needs to be larger than the next 19 countries’ defense budgets combined.  There is no reason to be in places that we defeated or defended in past wars and then successfully integrated them into the world economy, making them peaceful.  The correlary to that point is that we then come down like the Fist of God in Afghanistan.  All those assets and funds we just free up, we put it towards Afghanistan until it is built up where it needs to be (schools, roads, homes) and leveled where it needs to be (mountain tunnels, training camps, etc.)  Put every overseas American soldier in Afghanistan and you will see a surge without asking for any additional money.  That is a way to win a war.   I’m tired to my friends getting killed because some warlord doesn’t like  that we’ve been there going on 9 years.  We are not doing everything we can.  By chasing the bad-guys into Pakistan and killing them there too while also doing everything short of leveling cities with nukes,we can win the war quickly and get out.  No refuge, no quarter, simply utter defeat of the terrorists with overwhelming force by unleashing the dogs of war with the full might of the US military.  We also send a message to the next guy who decides to fly some planes into building that we will gladly come across the street and  burn his hut down too if you mess with the U. S. of A.  After that, we draw back down.  We keep very few strategic points around the globe and save on the costly tab of defending the world from itself.  Should the world get to be a dangerous place again (I doubt it), we mobilize like we have in the past and address the situation.  Even if our defense budget is 5 times the next largest country, that is still an overwhelming amount.  Does it really work for it to be so high nowadays?  Nowhere in here did I skimp on homeland defense  – except in general government waste cutting which will make every DoD dollar go that much further.

4) Let freedom ring.  Get government out of our lives as much as possible.  Needless regulation, outdated laws, circumvented rules, tear them all down to get at the real problems.  I’m tired of more laws and rules.  Somehow we survived in  1950s without all of the laws.  Yes, DDT is bad and that was in the 50’s, but I think you get my point.   This means tort reform (another solution by itself), that means common-sense, that means less red tape and government getting in the way.  This means the bad apples will not ruin things for everyone.  Only they pay the consequences.  If the public trust is violated, they actually pay in some appropriate way.  This would let us get on our way of being productive and innovative – sources of strength for this great nation.  Less rules means more room for everyone.  It means more entrepreneurship, more invention, more economic growth.

5) Wise public investments.  Just like a college education, there is some debt out there that is a wise investment.  Look at the results that the Manhattan Project and the Apollo Project had on the trajectory of America.  What if our government created a real stimulus that served America?  High speed rail across this vast nation, smart power grids, rebuilt roads.  The best and first should be fusion power.  Make it a reality, not just a lab experiment.  We could solve our looming energy crisis overnight and export such a clean source of energy across the world, benefitting everyone.  We do it smartly, so that we do not destroy industries like coal, we just phase them out as we phase the new technologies in.  We weren’t sure we could get to the moon or develop the nuclear bomb, but we did.  We could do the same for fusion powered reactors.

6) Lastly, and yes, this is lastly, raise taxes.  I don’t want to, but we need to.  But it isn’t drastic.  It is enough to not only balance the budget, but to significantly reduce the national debt.  I am not talking about a permanent value-added-tax, but things like a revocation of the Bush tax cuts, then some modest but progressively higher tax rates on everyone – the poor, the middle-class, and the rich.  Everyone has to pay.   This changes no one’s standard of living while replenishing the coffers.  I am tired of people saying that they cannot find another couple of hundred dollars a year.  Yes, you can, you would rather just waste it on $4 Starbucks coffee and buying the smut magazine at the supermarket .  You could be buying your own premium coffee and brewing it while reading your $20 yearly subscription to the same magazine.  I hate to tax people further, but I mean it when I say it would be temporary and that we need it to reduce our debt levels.  Again, this would not be as bad with a more efficient federal dollar working for you.  Hence point #1.

—- Unfunded Wars, Needless Death of Our Soldiers, & The End of the World’s Police Force – August 2011 —-

I haven’t hit up my ‘solutions’ section in awhile, largely because its harder to write.  It is more important than my blog as these are my real ideas on how to fix things, not my commentary on problems.  However, I am compelled to because our nation lost 30 troops in one helicopter that was shot down in Afghanistan a few days ago.  To date, it is the worst single-day loss of life for American troops for the entire war.

I’m sick of it.

I’m sick of people I know who go on multiple deployments time and time again from their families.  The burden that they and their loved ones bear to protect us far more than most imagine, suspect, or even take time to care about.  I’m sick of the stories of classmates of mine from the Air Force Academy dying.  They were in the Air Force!  If officers in the Air Force are giving their lives for their country, you know that marines and sailors from Annapolis and soldiers from West Point are dying for their country – and those are just the officers.  For every one of them there are many more enlisted personnel who have laid down their lives for us.

All this for what?  For peoples on the other side of the world who don’t understand nor want to understand our culture?  Who don’t respect our freedoms or our way of life?  When was the last time America attacked a country unprovoked?  How many times has it happened to us?  Why?  They attack us every time because of our freedom.  It threatens their despotism in whatever guise it wears.

1)  I say let them have it.  Let the world police itself.  I am tired of my nation getting sneered at from every corner of the globe, but when anyone really needs a helping hand – be it in Bosnia, Lybia, Somalia, or whereever else – they turn to us.  We are a generous people to a fault.  We have squandered our nation’s treasure, influence, and best young men and women for people who don’t care about us but are all to willing to take our money and help but then spit at us when we leave.

First, we pull out of the VAST majority of international bases.  I’m talking about ~75 – 85% order of magnitude.  I know we stay in Korea.  I know we stay in Iraq.  I know we stay in the UK.  We pick between Germany or Spain…and that more or less is it.  We aren’t in those places to defend them either, we’re there for forward operating bases around the globe and thats it.  Garrisons of America that tell the world we’re out there, but we aren’t going to parade around and protect you from each other…just don’t mess with us.  We also reduce the number of carrier battle groups.  I don’t know if its 1 or 4, but we reduce them.  If we aren’t patrolling the world’s waters, we don’t need as many.

Doing these things greatly reduces that portion of our military’s cost.  We don’t have to pay for as much stuff as far afield.  We also do not have as many things to maintain…and eventually men to train and arm…but more on that in a moment.  I do not know what the savings are, but it would be significant.

The real reason for this is that it changes our outlook and the world’s outlook on our role in it.  We haven’t changed economically, but we tell the world we are not prepared to spend money and die for your cause anymore.

2)  Which leads us to the second point.  Our policy should be one of international economic player and influencer just like we are in the world today, but with dollars, not bombs.  Trust me, we don’t get rid of the bombs, we just use them a lot more judiciously.  And when we do use them, there is nothing half-assed about it.  There is no mission creep.  There are no limited warfare rules that don’t target mosques.  If you are a bad guy, we will bring overwhelming force to bear and wipe you off the face of the earth in a very timely manner.

There is no more limited engagements.  If under this new international stance, some actor attacks us, we crush them.  We don’t send in a couple platoon of Rangers and Delta guys to get shot up like in ‘Black Down’ – we send the whole base of Rangers and Delta Force to kill everyone that resists.  We have AC-130 gunships on station to lay waste to whole blocks of Moghadishu if we have to.  We bring that level of overwhelming force to bear so that 18 Americans don’t die and the bad guys will think twice before messing with us again.

Specifically, we use all the hardware, men, and man-hours that were spent on maintaining many foreign outposts and concentrate it on Afghanistan.  We veritably invade the country without actually invading it.  We make so many of us that we push the Taliban out as if we were an invading species pushing out the native population of fauna that can’t compete.  We relieve overstressed troops who continualy deploy with more bodies and less places to send them so that the deployment tempo isn’t as long or as often.  We strike some kind of deal with Pakistan where they let us join them in ridding their nation of terrorists and Taliban fighters.  Everyone has a price, even the government of Pakistan.  All the while, we nation build and show these nations that all these Americans are improving their lives with our service and good works for their communities, not worsening them.

But then, one day it ends.  All the while, we have been nation-building while we kill the enemy and leave places quicker than we do nowadays AND with the ability to stand on their own because they got all the help they needed from the overwhelming American presence.  Thus, we overwhelm the enemy, win the hearts and minds or the citizenry when we can, and then also leave as fast possible.  We are more effective and spend less money.

After Afghanistan is over, we have a draw down.  We staff up our bases here in the US with our best people and incent them to stay while pushing out the lowest performers when necessary.  We don’t close any bases domestically and their economies marginally absorb some of the extra people.  Per base, each is more flush; overall, the reduced international presence has reduced our forces.  We divest ourselves of hardware that we have too much of (the non-sensitive stuff) to allies since they are going to have to fend for themselves..and we further invest in cost effective defensive measures like cyber warfare, drones, and human intelligence.  These are the tools of the 21st century warfighter and ours WILL BE the best.

The bottom line is that we let the world fend for itself.  It greatly slashes our military spending while focusing on the aspects that let us be more efficient.  We defend ourselves, and our national interests only…but with utter crushing and overwhelming force for amazingly short periods.  No one wants to fight us.

The alternative is to continue the status quo.  We follow in the dangerous path of becoming like the Roman Empire – which in part, collapesed under the size and scope of its military…the empire it had to defend was to big to adequately defend or fund and eventually the unwashed hordes of barbarians came flooding in, destroying the empire and much of what it had achieved.  It collapsed under its own weight.

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6 Responses to Solutions

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